• Syllabus

    Updated: Jan. 21, 2018.

    The full class, with policies, readings, and other material, will be available to enrolled students on the class Blackboard site.

    Dr. Dru Pagliassotti
    Professor Terry Spehar-Fahey
    WRAC 103
    Class Hours:  Tuesday & Thursday 12:25-2:05 pm
    Office Hours: See Blackboard
    Office:  Pagliassotti: Swenson 203, Spehar-Fahey: WRAC 100
    Optional Art/Language Open Studio: Friday, 1:15-3:15 pm, WRAC 103
    Further Information: See Blackboard for detailed information

    Course Description:

    Students will acquire background knowledge of Venetian history, geography, demography, culture, and politics with special attention to how Venice has operated as a significant symbol — of an untouchable republic, of a militant mercantile nation, of a corrupt political system, of a decadently sexual culture, and of a dying empire — within various cultural media and artifacts of the Western world.

    This course will satisfy the Core 21 requirement for participatory visual & performing arts for students who complete the post-travel portion of the course.

    Student Learning Objectives:

    •           Creative and Critical Thinking: Students will engage in sketching, watercolor painting, photography, video (optional), digital art (optional), and creative writing while in Venice, producing art and fiction relevant to the symbolism of the city and its history. They will learn how to perform semiotic analysis and understand the ways in which a real place can be discursively transformed into a symbol with multiple meanings.

    •           Written Communication:  Students will write informative essays and an analytic book report for ImaginingVenice.Com and a number of reflective essays for their trip journals. They will demonstrate awareness of and adaptation to communicative context, use appropriate and compelling content to present or explore ideas to differing types of audiences, and demonstrate their mastery of linguistic syntax and mechanics.

    •           Visual Communication & Literacy: Students will learn how to represent their ideas visually through watercolor painting and photography and will learn how to read, decipher, and encode images both on a mechanical and symbolic level.

    •           Cross-Cultural Competency:  Students will develop an understanding and appreciation of the history and culture of Venice, especially as it has acted as a symbol influencing social, political, and artistic development in Italy, the UK, and the U.S. They will live and travel within the city for an extended period of time, getting to know it better than would be possible on a whirlwind tour of an entire country.

    Class Policies:

    Amount of Work Expected: A college semester unit is defined as one lecture hour of class plus two hours of study per week per semester. This travel course will be equivalent to 4 units, so you should assume a varying class obligation of between three and four lecture hours (using 50-minute “hours”) plus between three and four hours of homework (reading, writing, viewing, painting, preparing reports) per week in the pre-travel phase for 100 hours total.

    The travel phase of this course will be equivalent to 50 hours total, or about 3-4 hours a day of “coursework,” which will include time spent on organized field trips, on painting, on evening discussion of assignments, and on working on your journal and final portfolio/presentation.

    Absences: Attendance is mandatory; absences will be counted off of your grade.

    Make-Up Exams & Presentations: To make up a quiz, you must bring valid and verifiable proof of the cause of absence. Acceptable reasons for making up a quiz include emergency hospitalization, disaster (e.g., wildfires that require evacuation or block your route to class), or an illness too serious for class attendance.  No non-verified excuses are acceptable.

    The following are not acceptable reasons to make up the midterm:  I was late from the airport; I had to drive someone to/from the airport; my family was visiting; I was in jail; I was at a funeral; I was caught in traffic; I didn’t get back from vacation on time; I had to leave for vacation early; my computer broke down; the printer in the library doesn’t work; etc. All of these are either a matter of choice or lack of preparation.

    The final quiz must be taken on the designated day and time and cannot be made up.

    Grading: This course is worth 4 units in the semester, with an in-progress grade given at the end of the semester until completion of the travel phase and all travel assignments.

    Extra Credit:  The instructors reserve the right to provide extra credit opportunities to the class as a whole as desired. No extra credit opportunities are guaranteed in any given semester.

    Required Texts:

    Save Venice puzzle book to be arranged — taken on trip.
    Selected readings provided in Blackboard.
    One novel — not Inferno — about Venice chosen from list provided in class.

    Encouraged Texts:

     ·      Inferno, by Dan Brown
    ·      Rosetta Stone via your myCLU portal; consider doing Level 1 & 2 on your own time to learn more basic language skills than we will teach in class.

     Required Material:

    Students will be required to purchase some art material for this course, including a travel watercolor set to be taken on the trip. See professors for details.


     10%     Professionalism: Attendance in class and on the trip, participation in class and on the trip, 5 “Treasure Hunts” in Venice
    21%     1 Carnevale Mask & 6 Watercolor Paintings
    21%     3 Quizzes (7% each)
    10%     Book Report & Presentation (5% and 5%)
    9%       Blogging (in class and on trip)
    24%     Semiotic Journal/Art Portfolio (completion-checked periodically on the road)
    5%       Final Presentation: “What Venice Symbolizes for Me”

    Quizzes: The quizzes will cover lecture, required readings, required audiovisual presentations, and Italian language.

    Pre-Travel Book Report: You must choose one novel primarily based in Venice for your book report; a list will be provided from which you may select your book. Your report will critically review the book, swiftly summarizing characters and plot and then analyzing the story’s major themes while paying special attention to the city’s symbolic role within the work. Remember to provide your opinion at the end: was the writing effective? the plot strong? the characters believable? the story memorable? Did you learn much about Venice or Venetians from it? You will be asked to post your book report to the class blog and to very briefly present your book in class.

    Blogging: (Spring Semester) You will be assigned a week in which you must post to the Imagining Venice blog a 900-word or more essay regarding the symbol, or an assigned artist, relevant for that week. Blog topics must be approved by the professor.

    (During Trip) You will be assigned at least one day in which you must post to the Imagining Venice blog about any trip-relevant, class-appropriate topic; including photographs of your art or from the trip will be strongly encouraged.

     Travel/Post-Travel Semiotic Journal/Portfolio: You must complete 12 response essays in your journal and create 12 new works of visual art, to include at least 2 new watercolor paintings; 1 sketch; 1 poem; and 1 work of fiction (short story or complete scene for a script), and 1 to 3 art photographs or short videos. (You may take more photos, of course; but only 3 may count toward the journal.)

    You must complete all of the assigned “treasure hunts” in Venice. You may travel in teams to complete the hunts, but you should not skip the hunt and simply copy somebody else’s answers.

     Final Presentation: You must give a final presentation in Florence. You will give an approximately 10-minute presentation presenting a response to the question what has Venice come to symbolize for you, personally? The presentation should demonstrate your understanding of semiotics as it applies to Venice as a signifier. Your response should be supported by the creative and documentary work you completed during the trip and should include relevant examples of your artwork, photographs, writing, and/or video


    Please note that this syllabus is not a binding contract
    and may be subject to change after class notice.

    Settimana 1. Introduction: What is Semiotics? (Dr. Dru)
    18 gennaio (January)
    Assigned Reading:

    •          Semiotics for Beginners: Chapters 2 “Signs” and Chapter 7 “Denotation, Connotation & Myth” (Blackboard)
    •          “Venice” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (Blackboard)
    Optional Material:
    •          Watch “What Makes Cities Great?” video (Blackboard)
    •          Vivaldi music videos (Blackboard)
    •          Watch Peter Ackroyd’s Venice Revealed, Episode 3: The City as Music (DVD on reserve in library)
    Assignments: Italian Language

    Settimana 2. Venice the Free (Prof. Terry) & Venice the Militant (Dr. Dru)
    23 & 25 gennaio (January)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Venice from the Ground Up, James H. S. McGregor — Chap. 1: The Lagoon (Blackboard)
    •          Men of Empire: Power and Negotiation in Venice’s Maritime State, by Monique O’Connell — Chap. 1: The Shape of Empire (Blackboard)
    Optional Materials:
    •          Historie de ma vie by Casanova: Vol 10: Under the Leads (Blackboard)
    •          Othello: The Moor of Venice by Shakespeare: Act I Scene 3 (Blackboard)
    •          Inferno by Dante: Canto XXI (Blackboard)
    •          Thursday: Sign up for your blog topic

    Settimana 3. Venice the Mercantile (Dr. Dru)
    30 gennaio (January) & 1 febbraio (February)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          The Jews of Early Modern Venice by Benjamin Ravid: Chapter 1: The Venetian Government and the Jews, (Blackboard)
    •          The Merchant of Venice (Graphic Shakespeare) by Hinds, Gareth (2008). Somerset, Mass: Candlewick Press (Blackboard)
    Optional Material:
    •          The Merchant of Venice by Shakespeare: Act III (Blackboard)
    •          Tuesday: Choose your novel about Venice
    •          Thursday: Italian Language and Quiz 1
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 4. Venice Incognito I (Prof. Terry)
    6 & 8 febbraio (February)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Venice Incognito: Masks in the Serene Republic by James H. Johnson — Chapter 8, Infernal Associations, p. 48-59 (Blackboard)
    •          Tuesday: Start your Carnevale mask (shape foil armature)
    •          Thursday: Make your Carnevale mask (papier mâché: wear old clothes!)
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    CARNEVALE is 11 febbraio

     Settimana 5. Venice Incognito II (Prof. Terry)
    13 & 15 febbraio (February)
    Optional Material:
    •          Watch Peter Ackroyd’s Venice Revealed, Episode 4: The City as Theatre (DVD on reserve in library)
    •          Tuesday: Paint & decorate your Carnevale mask
    •          Thursday: Italian Language
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 6. Venice the Libertine (Dr. Dru)
    20 & 22 febbraio (February)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Historie de ma vie by Casanova: Vol 8: Convent Affairs (Blackboard)
    •          Thursday: Italian Language & Quiz 2
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 7. Venice the Dying (Dr. Dru)
    27 febbraio (February) & 1 marzo (March)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Venice Rediscovered by John Pemble: Chapter 6: Time’s Ruin (Blackboard)
    •          Celestial Venice by Moebius (comic) (Blackboard)
    •          “On the Extinction of the Venetian Republic,” by William Wordsworth (Blackboard)
    •          “Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage” by Lord Byron: Canto the Fourth (Blackboard)
    •          Thursday: Italian Language
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 8. Venetian Art & Architecture (Prof. Terry)
    6 & 8 marzo (March)
    Assigned Reading: TBD
    Optional Material:
    •          Watch Peter Ackroyd’s Venice Revealed, Episode 1: The City as Architecture (DVD on reserve in library)
    •          Worksheet on architecture
    •          Thursday: Guest Lecture — Dr. Sellin, Titian & Tintoretto
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 9. Venice Illustrated: Art Basics (Prof. Terry)
    13 & 15 marzo (March)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          The Art of Designing Watercolors, by Robert Lovett — Excerpt (Blackboard)
    •          Work on painting assignments
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 10. Venice Illustrated: Painting from Photos (Prof. Terry)
    20 & 22 marzo (March)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Watch “A Vision of Venice in Watercolor” DVD (on reserve in library)
    •          Work on painting assignments (bring your digital photographs)
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    SPRING BREAK: March 26-30 (finish reading your novel!)

    Settimana 11. Venice Illustrated: Turner (Prof. Terry)
    3 & 5 aprile (April)
    Assigned Reading:
    Turner (Web: http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/artist05.html)
    •          Work on painting assignments
    •          Bloggers post their blogs
    Optional Material:
    •          Watch Peter Ackroyd’s Venice Revealed, Episode 2: The City as Art (DVD on reserve in library)

    Settimana 12. Venice Illustrated: Sargent & Whistler (Prof. Terry)
    10 & 12 aprile (April)
    Assigned Reading:
    •           Sargent (Web: http://www.handprint.com/HP/WCL/artist19.html)
    •           A Paradise of Cities by John Julius Norwich: Chapter 11: Whistler and Sargent (Ebrary)
    •          Work on painting assignments
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 13. Venice Assimilated & Appropriated (Dr. Dru)
    17 & 19 aprile (April)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Venice from the Ground Up by James H. S. McGregor — Chap. 8: The Streets of Venice
    •          A History of Venice by John Julius Norwich: Chapter 46: The Fall [1789-1797] (Blackboard)
    Optional Material:
    •          History of Venice, California (Blackboard)
    •          History of The Venetian in Las Vegas (Blackboard)
    •          Thursday: Italian Language
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 14. Venice Endangered (Dr. Dru)
    24 & 26 aprile (April)
    Assigned Reading:
    •          Venice, the Tourist Maze: A Cultural Critique of the World’s Most Touristed City, by Robert C. Davis and Garry R. Marvin: Chapter 11: Taking it All Home
    •          Venice Against the Sea by John Keahey: Chapter 4: Tides, Winds, and Global Warming; Chapter 5: Acqua Alta; Chapter 13: Will Venice Survive?
    •          “Ode on Venice” by Lord Byron (Blackboard)
    Optional Material:
    •          Watch the video on “Wild Venice” (Blackboard)
    •          Thursday: Italian Language
    •          Bloggers post their blogs

    Settimana 15. Book Reports & Trip Prep
    1 & 3 maggio (May)
    Assigned Reading:
    Tuesday: All book reports should be uploaded to blog by 5 p.m.
    •          Thursday: Quiz 3

    Settimana 16. Final
    8 maggio (May) 1:30-3:30 p.m.
    Watercolors due
    : Bring all six paintings to the classroom during the final exam for grading & critique